The next time you’re in that conversation with the person who’s dissing marijuana legalization, you can deliver these knockout statistics to shut them up.
“Legal pot will target kids!”
The fastest growing demographic of marijuana smokers in the 21st century is people over the age of 50. Barely one percent of the AARP-eligible smoked pot monthly at the start of the 2000s. That figure is over three percent today and in raw numbers, monthly silver tokers have tripled since 2000.
“Kids will think pot is OK!”
In the beginning of the 2000s, there were 3.9 million kids aged 17 or younger who smoked pot that year. In 2012, that figure dropped to 3.3 million. Meanwhile, annual tokers over age 50 more than doubled from 1.7 million to 4.7 million
“Teen use will skyrocket!”
The greatest teen use was in 1979, when 31 percent of high school seniors had tried illegal-in-all-50-states pot. Today, with 20 medical marijuana states and two legal states, only 17 percent of 12th graders have tried pot.
“Productivity will suffer!”
Fifty-five percent of people who have never smoked marijuana work full or part time. But 70.6 percent of people who have smoked pot are working. Even monthly pot smokers are more likely to be employed (64.4 percent) than people who didn’t smoke pot this month (61.7 percent).
“Roads full of stoned drivers!”
During the annual two-week national DUI crackdown between mid-August and Labor Day, police in Washington State nabbed fewer people for DUI than the year before legalization and more drivers they caught were under the state’s new legal limit. In Colorado, just 13 out of 359 DUI cases in the Denver metro area were for marijuana. Accident fatality rates are down in Washington and Colorado at a greater rate than the national average.
“Today’s pot is seven-times stronger!”
There’s always been great weed. Today it’s just easier to come by. Average potency of marijuana seized has increased by about double, but why are we supposed to fear a 10 percent-30 percent THC bud when a 100 percent THC pill (Marinol) has been legal since the 1980s?
”Marijuana addicts are filling rehabs!”
Well, people caught smoking pot are filling rehabs because a judge forces them there. Over half (53 percent) of people in rehab for marijuana alone were sent there by the criminal justice system, while only one-in-seven (14 percent) chose to enroll themselves in rehab. As for these “addicts,” well over half of them (56 percent) smoked pot less than once a week, with well over a third (37 percent) who smoked no pot the month before admission to rehab.
“Legal pot will target minorities!”
Really, more than law enforcement? There are twice as many white monthly marijuana smokers (12.7 million) than all other races and ethnicities combined (6.3 million).
“What’s next, legalized meth?”
Doubtful. While the latest CNN Opinion poll showed 88 percent support for medical marijuana, 84 percent for decriminalized marijuana, and 55 percent for legalized marijuana, it showed only four percent support for legalized meth and cocaine and three percent support for legalized heroin.
“Legal pot will drive up social costs!”
A 2002 Canadian study found that a smoker costs $822/year in social costs, a drinker costs $165/year, and a pot smoker costs $20/year. That pot cost is under prohibition, so we take in no taxes to offset it. Do you think we can collect $20 in taxes per year from a legal pot smoker?